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Glimpse into Frankfurt Motor Show

The world's biggest motor show is weeks away, yet the car companies are already scrambling over each other to release clues about their exhibits.

Among the highlights of the 62nd Frankfurt International Motor Show are cars made out of bamboo, a boxer diesel engine and yet more “urban crossover SUVs.”

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation will unveil its Concept-cX compact SUV at the show.

Concept-cX uses interior trim materials made from bamboo and other plant-based resins.

The concept is powered by a new high-output, high-efficiency 1.8 litre diesel engine, featuring a variable geometry turbocharger for optimum boost control and a diesel oxidation catalyst with diesel particulate filter, and Mitsubishi's new twin clutch sport shift transmission.

Dodge will also launch a crossover wagon, called Crew, which hits Australia late next year.

The seven-seater is based on the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring sedan platform but with all-wheel drive and powered by 2.4-litre petrol and 2-litre turbo-diesel engines.

The Crew looks like a shrunken Chrysler Voyager people mover, but with a longer nose and higher ground clearance.

It will be built at Chrysler's Toluca plant in Mexico with production due to start in December.

Subaru will use the show for its biggest new model blitz yet.

Leading the line-up will be the new Impreza five-door hatchback in its 1.5 and 2 litre naturally aspirated formats, which arrives in Australia the same month.

Other Subarus on show include an Impreza-based World Rally Car Concept, facelifted Tribeca luxury SUV with more efficient 3.6-litre boxer engine and five-speed auto, new Justy one-litre supermini and the world's first horizontally opposed boxer turbo-diesel engine, due to be progressively installed in models from early in 2008.

Mazda will debut its Mazda6, the second Mazda new generation product to evolve to the next stage following the new Mazda2.

Although Australia is yet to see the Kia cee'd five-door, the Korean company will debut its new sporty three-door Pro-cee'd, the third model in the family of cars designed for Europe and made in Slovakia.

Only the bonnet and the front wing panels are carried over from the five-door model.

Volkswagen will revive the 'people's car' with a concept Beetle.

It is called the City Expert because The Beetle name has been taken by the more expensive new-generation car.

The City Expert goes back to Beetle roots with a rear-mounted, flat-four boxer engine and a cheap price tag.

VW will also reveal six new models with BlueMotion diesel technology, including the new Golf BlueMotion claiming economy of 4.5 litres/100km down 0.6-litres from the previous model, and CO2 emissions down 16g/km to 119g/km.

Range on a 55-litre tank is now more than 1200km.

Peugeot's 308RCZ concept will give a big hint towards a future body style for the 308 family.

The ultra-light 2+2 coupe uses aluminium, polycarbonate windows and carbon fibre body parts and is powered by a 160kW 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbo jointly developed by PSA Peugeot Citroen and BMW.

Renault will show a wagon version of its Clio mini.

The Clio Sport Tourer will go on sale in Europe early next year.

Mini is also on the bandwagon with the return of the Clubman van.

The five-door model has double rear doors and a suicide door on the driver's side.

The suicide door, which opens the opposite way, is designed to allow passengers easier access to the back.

It would make more sense on the other side, but clearly the former British car now owned by BMW is designed for left-hand-drive markets with the blinkers also on the left.

Ford will show its Kuga crossover all-wheel-drive probably powered by a range of petrol and turbodiesel engines, including the 2-litre 100kW/320Nm TDCi that has just appeared in the Focus.

The Kuga is based on the Iosis X concept unveiled at last year's Paris Motor Show.

In a surprise move, Suzuki will show it's expanding from small cars and SUVs into the family market.

Their Kizashi family car looks mean with a massive black grille, sloping lamp clusters and low-level fog lamps.

Also looking mean is Saab's 9-3 Turbo X which will rekindle the spirit of the 1980s Saab 900 Black Turbo.

It will feature Cross-Wheel Drive allowing torque to be split to either side of the rear axle via an electronically limited slip differential, based on information from the stability and traction control systems.

However, the show-stealer is likely to be seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher when he unveils the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, a lighter and faster development of the existing 430 coupe and convertible.

Power is up to 380kW, weight is down 100kg and the F1 transmission has new software that cuts shift times to 60 milliseconds.


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